Today, I'm featuring an excellent excerpt from Merrie Destefano's new book: Feast: Harvest of Dreams. Mmmmm.... doesn't the title just give you shivers!
Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods . . .
Madeline MacFaddin ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.
But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the harvest . . . the time to feast.
Once again Maddie's dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own . . .
The house held a century of magic twisted into its cupboards and narrow crevices. It remembered me, the old me, I know it did. I know that somewhere in its wooden heart, it woke up and wept on the day of the curse. When my wife lay crying and dying and hoping that I would find her, this old house had watched every moment. An unnatural wind followed me from room to room, like a sigh, moving curtains, sometimes tossing small objects from tables. My clan says it’s nothing but my own magic, gone awry from the curse. But they’re wrong, of course.
I think hauntings start like this.
A spirit stays too long in one place, with bad intentions, like I did, and then they get stuck. Might be torment for the humans, but nobody ever seems to wonder how the house feels about it.
Sometimes I think I’ve succumbed to the enchantment of my own curse.
I put the groceries away, stretching, my human skin feeling too tight today. Probably because I saw her—Maddie. She was disturbing my thoughts, intruding into memories I didn’t want dredged up. The look in her eyes, and that mouth—how had that little girl grown up into something that lovely? It just wasn’t right.
“Not much right in this world,” a voice spoke at my side.
Sage, my sister, emerged from the shadows, unexpected, as always. She loved to catch me by surprise. I didn’t even have her room ready yet.
“Don’t need a room, you know that. I’ll just stretch out on one of those green boughs, watch the stars, wait for the moon to rise, full and sweet.”
Music sparked in her voice, casting even more memories about the room. “You’re early,” I said.
“Half a day, give or take. We all left early this time. You have anything sweet in your cupboards, brother? I’ve got a craving for human food.” She flexed her shoulders. “The flight was wearisome and long.” A pair of wings fluttered at her back, broadened to stretch almost the full width of the narrow room, then fell into place, neat and tight between her shoulder blades.
I cut her a thick slice of white cake, heavy with frosting, put it on a plate and handed it to her. She ran a slender finger along the icing, then slid it into her mouth with a smile. She ate with her fingers, an act some humans would call uncivilized. But that would be because they don’t know our ways. In my land, only the host is allowed a knife and fork, too many fierce fights have started and ended over the use of cutlery during meals.
“Where’s your human?” she asked, her mouth full, a smear of dark frosting on her cheek.
Sage was walking behind me now, as we went up to my private chambers at the top of the house. Three flights of stairs, through the door to my room, and then we were outside again, on the widow’s walk. I always feel better outside, with the wind in my hair and the trees close enough to smell. I think it’s instinctive—it’s much easier to fly, to escape, when you’re outdoors.
The moon greeted us, near full and commanding, making it difficult for me to think clearly. It rested at the top of the tree line, a swollen silver disc challenging her sister, the sun, for possession of the earth and all within it.
“I’m not sure where he is,” I answered, as I stared down at the green across the street where the cabin was situated, just opposite the bed and breakfast. Maddie was down there, talking on a phone, her son and dog playing in the leaves. Without thinking, I closed my eyes and pulled her fragrance into my lungs, estimated how far away she was, how long it would take me to get to her. I’ve always thought of humans as prey. It’s hard to stop…
Wasn't that wonderful?
Are you intrigued now? I thought so.
If you'd like a larger except, please click here to visit HarperCollins' website.
So, while you're grabbing your copy of Burn the Night, also be sure to grab a copy of Feast: Harvest of Dreams!